La Liga Preview: Getafe FC 2007-08

August 2, 2007

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One of the most surprising success stories last season was the achievements of Getafe, who not only finished 9th for the second successive season but also reached the Spanish Cup final, swiping away Barcelona 4-0 in the second league in the semi-finals. Part of their impressive CV also included 5-1 and 4-2 versus Valencia, as well as 3-0 versus Villareal. Yet one would have the wrong impression if one assumes that they employ an all-out attacking strategy.

On the contrary their success was built on an excellent goalkeeper and a air-tight backline that honed a soak-and-strike strategy to perfection, often catching teams off-guard with long balls launched out of defence. Ironically things are now expected to stick closer to the script now that Michael Laudrup has taken over the reins.

Born and bred in the Total Football philosophy of Ajax Amsterdam, the Danish legend is expected to instill a more eye-pleasing, passing strategy. Now that the bar has been set so high, one can wonder about the pressure that he will face but so far Laudrup has taken to this new task quite well.

His job will no doubt be helped by the fact that the famed Getafe defence has been kept intact with Argentine keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri who was voted La Liga’s best custodian last season. His performances were a major reason why Getafe boasted the best defence in Spain last year, conceding only 33 goals in 38 games. Other names to watch out for include captain David Belenguer and Romanian veteran Cosmin Contra who is still capable of bombing up and down the right.

In the pre-season friendlies, Laudrup seemed to depend a lot on the central midfield duo Javier Cosquero and Swiss international Fabio Celestini to control the proceedings and to move the team forward. Together with Mario Cotelo and Nacho, Getafe’s seemed to have found a settled line-up that works very well together.

Even though former top scorer and terrace hero Daniel Guiza has moved onto Mallorca, few are panicking in South Madrid because his replacement Kepa Blanco is just as good. His burly, aggressive centre-forward play is tailor made for this team and he is expected to hit the target on a regular basis.

Laudrup also gave an insight into his plans by regularly pairing Kepa up with Nigerian Ikechukwu Uche and the duo seems to be getting on pretty well, both strong physical players who relish a battle with the defenders. Playing with two forwards also give Getafe more options when they are attacking, rather than to play every ball long to Guiza like they did last season.

The equation is simple: if Getafe can maintain their defensive discipline and add to that a more sophisticated attacking strategy that will hopefully translate into more goals, that should mean more victories and more points. Thus fighting for a place in Europe will be a realistic target for Laudrup and his men. What are the chances of another former Real Madrid playmaker moving onto the Bernabeau hot seat after bringing Getafe to greater glories?

Possible Getafe First XI: Abbondanzieri; Contra, Beleaguer, Pulido, Licht; Cotelo, Casquero, Celestini, Nacho; Kepa, Uche

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One Response to “La Liga Preview: Getafe FC 2007-08”

  1. insearchoffootball said

    nice

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